Web Design Resources

Web Design Resources

Mobile Enabled Websites

The web is a constantly evolving phenomenon. In the last couple of years, there has been a mini revolution in the field of hand held (mobile) devices. This has been made possible by improvements in processor speeds, screen size, graphics quality, and most importantly, emergence of new technologies that make transfer between a server and a mobile device faster. This rapid pace of development has blurred the lines between hand held devices and the mobile device today. The mobile devices user base has been increasing rapidly, outstripping the use of PCs, Notebooks and laptops. In turn, this offers website development companies new vistas to show their talent and creativity. Indeed, the demand for mobile web development has seen a quantum leap as more and more companies are stepping forth to tap its potential.

Mobile Web Development 
When mobiles were first introduced, their display abilities were severely restricted. The first mobile devices had simple, black and white screens. With advances in technology, these screens slowly gave way to larger, colorful screens with enhanced graphics capabilities.
The earlier mobile handsets required a special protocol - the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). WAP 1.0 was the first accepted industry standard, managed by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). The de-facto mobile development language was WML. Currently, most mobile handsets support WAP 2.0, which uses XHTML-MP (XHTML for Mobile Phones) as the primary markup language. This has now replaced WML as the language for mobile devices. One of the major goals achieved by this markup language is that it is more close to TCP / IP and HTTP. In other words, closer to the standard HTML used by today's mobile browsers. Indeed, most of today's mobile support websites developed in standard HTML, although web site development companies should keep in mind that it is wise to stick to WAP 1.0 standards, especially if their target audience is people with older mobile models. The disadvantage is that WML has more limited design capabilities than XHTML that would dissuade web site designers as it does not support the richer features of more modern mobile devices. 
With the development in communication speed, notably due to the introduction of the 3G spectrum, the mobile web development should have a bright future.

Design Constraints for Website Development Companies
Even though the speeds have become faster, the screens bigger and the graphics capability enhanced, it is very important for a web design company to understand three basic limitations of mobile web development: 

The biggest screen size of a mobile can never increase beyond a certain size. This is an inherent constraint of all hand held, mobile devices.
While the orientation of all desktops / laptop screens is horizontal, the default screen orientation of almost all mobile sets is vertical.
Despite all the brouhaha around it, the speed and connectivity to mobile devices is still very limited. 

The challenge for web development companies thus is to design a website that is extremely easy to navigate, looks good at both orientations and gives the barest minimum content mostly in text format. While this sounds simple, there is a lot of thought that needs to go in the UI and content development.